You know that weird and inexplicable spark lurking deep in your subconscious? The one that starts tingling now when you start thinking about a football season that’s still over six months out? That’s called “hope.” It’s okay to feel alive again.
Hope is one of the most slippery commodities in college football: it’s difficult to obtain and even more difficult to keep hold of once you do find it. We haven’t really cradled it in our hands since the Johnny Era. The last several seasons have been a sleepwalk of expectations dictated by what we thought should happen, in a perfect scenario, instead of what we knew the team was capable of doing consistently and with confidence in the real chaos of the collegiate football environment.
(NARRATOR: These seasons did not turn out the way that anyone wanted.)
Now we’ve got that juice again: momentum, a couple of big wins at the end of the year, a real buzz around town. We’ve got the beginnings of a new identity and steady hands at the helm. We’ve also got one of the hardest schedules in the country. And yet, outlets are throwing out top-ten rankings like candy at a parade. Welcome the challenge: real competitors wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s quite possible we can finish the regular season with the exact same record and still be a vastly improved team. Would it be nice to snag that tenth win and flirt with the fringes of the Playoffs? Sure. But it’s not the end of the world if we don’t break .500 against Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and LSU. This year. Don’t expect it, but don’t be too surprised if expectations finally surpass reality for once.
The last two weeks of November will see the Aggies play in Athens and Baton Rouge. Will there still be a buzz around this team then? We’ve been conditioned to assume the worst. Hopefully it’s time we’re proven wrong.